The advent of new technologies, such as 5th generation fighters like the F-35, will bring new interoperability challenges to the Airpower domain. This issue was recognised by the EAG Steering Group, composed of the seven EAG air force chiefs, which initiated a task in 2015 to scope the broader impact of the integration of 5th Generation capabilities with current Airpower concepts and capabilities. The EAG Permanent Staff are now fully engaged in this task and are working proactively together with subject matter experts from the EAG Air Forces and other organizations to identify the issues involved and develop solutions.
Under the title of ‘Interoperability in Future Combined Air Operations’, shortened to ‘IFCAO’, the EAG is adopting a structured approach to this challenge, with the aim of delivering tangible results and improvements at tactical and operational levels, within a five-year, rolling framework.
With IFCAO work now gathering pace across the four EAG domains of Air, Force Protection, Logistics and CIS/Cyber, two focused workshops involving representatives from all seven EAG nations are being planned for the first half of 2017. These workshops will add momentum to the work that is already underway and stimulate new ideas and initiatives. Additionally, EAG staff plan to attend several exercises and other events this year that are relevant to IFCAO, to identify the components necessary for the future development of procedures, training and exercises.
The establishment of a versatile and robust process to resolve the IFCAO challenge will be the key focus of the activities of the EAG Permanent Staff, further developing this task throughout 2017 and probably beyond.
All images for this article (including the cover thumbnail) are courtesy of the UK MoD Defence Imagery.